Black Like I Thought I Was

[W]hen the results of his DNA test came back, he found himself staggered by the idea that though he still qualified as a person of color, it was not the color he was raised to think he was, one with a distinct culture and definitive place in the American struggle for social equality that he’d taken for granted. Here was the unexpected and rather unwelcome truth: Joseph was 57 percent Indo-European, 39 percent Native American, 4 percent East Asian and zero percent African. After a lifetime of assuming blackness, he was now being told that he lacked even a single drop of black blood to qualify. —Erin Aubry KaplanBlack Like I Thought I Was (Alternet)

At a panel on DNA and ethics the other day I mentioned the concept of “passing,” which features so strongly in the racial consciousness in the American south. This fascinating article gives the same set of cultural questions a contemporary scientific twist.